Net Sector Fails to Rally on Solid Earnings

Even good reports from priceline and E*Trade aren't giving a big boost to their stocks.
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Earnings season continues to be more of a drag than a benefit for the Internet sector.

Derek Brown, Internet analyst with

Volpe Brown Whelan

, said some of the weakness in the sector today was related to weakness in the broader market and that it wasn't fair to point to the Net sector as being overly weak.

The sector saw some solid earnings numbers from both

priceline.com

(PCLN)

and

E*Trade

(EGRP)

before the

open, but it wasn't able to rally on their strength.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was down 15.68, or 2.5%, at 623.05 in recent trading. priceline was up 3 31/32, or 4%, at 101 3/8 in recent trading, far from its session high of 108. E*Trade was off 2 1/16, or 5.5%, at 35 7/16.

Regarding earnings, Brown said results in general have been "solid, but we haven't seen the breakthrough results we may have seen six months ago," so there has been little for the sector to get overly enthused about. Brown said he expects Net stocks to be "flattish" through the summer, but to see a strong rebound in late summer and early fall as the sector heads for what is seasonally a strong quarter.

Among notable stocks,

Inktomi

(INKT)

, which reported earnings last week, was down 7 13/16, or 6%, at 115 3/16.

CMGI

(CMGI)

, which often reflects sentiment in the sector, was down 5 9/16, or 5%, at 103 3/4. And

Exodus

(EXDS)

, which has lately been a big mover to the upside, was off 7 1/4, or 5%, at 130 3/4 as profit-takers stepped in.

A strong earnings report was helping shares of

AdForce

(ADFC)

. AdForce, which provides Internet ad management and delivery services, reported a loss of 40 cents for the second quarter, which was much better than the 58-cent loss estimate from

First Call

and an improvement over the $1.26 loss in the first quarter. Revenue of $4.2 million was 30% above the $3.2 million seen in the first quarter of this year and just $100,000 shy of the company's total 1998 revenue. The stock was up 5, or 17%, at 34.